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Saturday, February 22, 2020

A Leap Month of Little Joys and Satisfactions: Getting One of Those Jobs Done

I was wondering to myself why I dislike some tasks more than others. What I think it all boils down to for me is that some jobs have either little positive feedback, or the negative feedback overrides the positive feedback. 

One of a dozen gouges in the wall from moving furniture up/down the stairs

Here's an example: I've been needing to repair the gouges in a wall for about a year. There's really very little positive feedback for me in this job. No one in my household will gush over how great the repair looks. I could easily find a dozen other jobs that would have more tangible rewards. 

Patch and Paint quick-dry spackling -- this brand is 3M Patch plus Primer.
This stuff is ready to paint in 30 minutes, needs no primer.
I use a straight-edged putty knife to apply and smooth the edges.

I'll have to hunt down all of the tools and supplies that I need, which could prove problematic because our tools and home repair supplies are not well-organized. And I could (and did) cause some sort of injury to myself in the process (I punctured my finger when digging through tools in the garage). 

When the gouge has rippled the paint, as in the left photo, I use an X-Acto knife to trim away the ripple.
The final image shows the same gouge after spackling.

So, can you see why I'd think there is far more negative feedback in the completion of this job? To counter all of this presumed negative feedback, I needed to build in some positive feedback that may only exist in my mind; but that could be enough in itself. 

Okay, so positive feedback on this job:

  • I would gain more experience with minor household repairs, which would boost my confidence for future repairs
  • I may even get good enough at this kind of repair that I could instruct or inspire someone else to do it
  • I would notice how nice the repaired wall looks, even if no one else does
  • a house in good repair is always easier to sell than one needing lots of work
  • I would finish a job that I start, do what I tell myself I'll do, and become more accountable in my own mind, leading to improved self-esteem
the various gouges all ready for paint

So, I talked myself into taking care of this job. I think I tipped the scales in favor of more positive feedback compared to negative, even with a punctured finger. I'll hunt down the paint in the next days or so. I'm feeling pretty good about myself for getting this done. That's a win!


  1. Oh, those pesky jobs that we don't like to do! I think you hit on a lot of the reasons that we don't enjoy them. I know for me, finding all the materials and doing the prep work involved in certain tasks before you even get close to see results (painting is an excellent example) feels overwhelming and makes it hard for me to get started. And if I never get started, I never finish. I'll try to take a page out of your book and look for those less tangible rewards!

  2. You got that right! Plus I get used to the way things look and don't think about those little tasks until I'm looking right at it - then I forget. I need to take care of things right then and there. That's how I get distracted - doing one thing, seeing something else that needs attention, then something else. Great job on getting that minor repair done. I think the tasks that have multiple steps are the ones I put off most. This has been motivating for me - thanks!

  3. I'm with Ruthie - this has been motivating for me, too!
    I have some places in the kitchen that need to be spackled and repainted. They are not in a spot you look at readily, but still, they need to be done!
    Jo Ann

  4. Hi Kris,
    For me, I've had to think about the prep work (like for painting jobs) as a separate job in itself. If I tell myself I'm just going to paint the walls, it's like I omitted some pertinent information within my own mind. In addition, what makes prep-work even worse is it usually takes as long or sometimes even longer than the job that has such visible results. I'm not above bribery, even when it comes to myself, like "if I do this job, I'll skip making dinner tonight and serve oatmeal instead" sort of bribe. I also like to play good music or a book on tape while I work, and that makes the experience more interesting or even fun. Whatever it takes, right?

  5. Thank you, Ruthie. I agree - when there are multiple steps, it just seems to make a job more daunting. Breaking the job down into these steps and lowering my expectations of what I want done each day helps me a lot. I can sometimes even "trick" myself into finishing a job on a day that I tell myself I only need to do the prep work, or find the materials.
    I hope you're having a good weekend, Ruthie.

  6. Thank you, Jo Ann. I'm wishing you luck as you tackle those projects!!!


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